Title: Paper Dragon
Genre: YA Fantasy
I knew I would find her on the wall. She often talked the soldiers into looking the other way, and I snuck up after her. She leaned there, bare-footed and loose-haired, her zhiju fluttering around her.
I pulled my coat more snuggly around me and joined her, standing straight-backed as I shared the view. A wide expanse of rocks and shrubs stretched, made into tangled shadows in the moonlight and, far away, the looming void of the mountains.
‘Enemy territory,’ I said, mother’s oft-repeated words. But it only looked like home to me.
‘Dirt and rocks.’ She said the words like a curse. ‘And always the same ones. The world is meant to be bigger than this. You and I, we’re meant for bigger things.’
I looked out at the only world I had ever known, listening to the night-sounds and torch-roar. ‘I don’t think I want to be,’ I said.
~a year before
‘This would be a lot easier if you could fly.’
Zheng Ling shot her brother a look. They were both ankle deep in dirt; Ling was the worst off, as it was up to her to push their cart. The wheels kicked up so much dust that she could feel it settling on her face. ‘A lot of things would be easier if we could fly,’ Ling said carefully. ‘But we can’t fly, because we are normal, everyday charm sellers and normal, everyday charm sellers do not fly.’